The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Supernatural Readalikes for the (Discerning) TV-Watching Teenager - February 2011

Selected and annotated by Jenn Matters

Ghost Stories
Space and/or Hi-tech


Black, Holly, ed. Zombies vs. Unicorns 2010. 432p. Gr. 9-12.
This short story collection alternates between hilarious tales of zombies and those about unicorns in a “battle” to see which creature makes the best hero and/or villain.

Jay, Stacey. You Are So Undead to Me. Razorbill, 2009. 265p. Gr. 7-10.
Megan Berry is a teenage Zombie Settler, a mediator for those who die but have unfinished business. A childhood friend returns, now hot and reanimated, and she struggles to learn her Settler powers and to survive 10th grade.

St. Crow, Lili. Strange Angels. Razorbill, 2009. 304p. Gr. 9–12.
Dru helps her father hunt creatures of the night. Dad gets turned into a zombie, and Dru must deal with becoming the hunted, follow clues, and decide which of her mysterious friends to trust with her life (and maybe her heart).

Waters, Daniel. Generation Dead. Hyperion, 2008. 400p. Gr. 9–12.
Goth-girl Phoebe finds herself intrigued by one of the “living impaired” teenagers at her school. Her friendship with this boy brings to light the discrimination alive in her world.



Collins, Suzanne. Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008. 420p. Gr. 7–10.
In a tough future world that’s broken into districts, Katniss steps up to fight for her life and against the government in a game of survival.

Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. Tor, 2008. 382p. Gr. 7–12.
Marcus and his tech-y friends are accused of terrorism by Homeland Security and then released into a scary future San Francisco, with constant surveillance and a confusing idea of civil liberties. Fighting against the system, the teens take everyday materials to fight for intellectual freedom for all.

Grant, Michael. Gone. HarperTeen, 2008. 576p. Gr. 7–9.
One sunny afternoon, everyone over fourteen disappears. Sam and his friends fight private school bullies and an unknown evil who threaten the tentative normalcy they’ve created for the other kids in their Florida town.

Ryan, Carrie. The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Delacorte, 2009. 320p. Gr. 9-12.
Much of the world has been lost to flesh-eating creatures, and the remaining known population lives in a closely guarded and fenced in village. The religious Sisterhood takes Mary in when her mother dies, but the Unconsecrated breach the walls of the village and she must flee for her life. Along the way, remnants of society that was appear and Mary must question the reality the Sisterhood has preached.


Ghost Stories

Crewe, Megan. Give Up the Ghost. Holt, 2009. 256p. Gr. 7-10.
Cass has been able to interact with dead people since her sister died years before. She decides to take advantage of her gift, using young ghostly “friends” to become the queen bee of her school.

McAuley, Amy. Over and Over You. Brodie/Roaring Brook, 2005. 187p. Gr. 8-12.
Penny discovers her ability to dream the past and future after a psychic tells her she has tragically loved and lost the same boy for all her past lives. With the help of a dream journal and a good friend, Penny fights to stay alive in this mix of historical fiction and dreams.

Mechling, Lauren. Dream Girl. Delacorte, 2008. 320p. Gr. 8-12.
Aptly named Claire Voyante’s abilities blossom after receiving a family heirloom that draws her into a crazy cloak and dagger adventure. Moving amongst the rich of New York, Claire tries to protect her best friend Becca and keep the attention of Andy, Becca’s cute older brother.

Page, Jan. Rewind. Walker, 2005. 224p. Gr. 7-10.
Mixing rock n’ roll and ghostly time travel, Liam’s adventure is one of family and self discovery.

Valdes-Rodriguez, Alisa. Haters. Little, 2006. 351p. Gr. 7-10.
Pasqual loves her life as a popular mountain-biking girl in New Mexico, and tries to ignore the violent prophetic visions that plague her. When a vision leads to the girl who rivals her queen bee status, “Paski” must reconsider her life choices regarding the school hierarchy and her abilities.


Space and/or Hi-tech

Jeapes, Ben. Time’s Chariot. Fickling/Random House, 2008. 384p. Gr. 9–12.
Time travelers from a not-so-distant future arrive, ready to illegally barter their technology. Fans of big, fun, and funny science e fiction will love this adventure.

Jinks, Catherine. Living Hell. Harcourt, 2010. 272p. Gr. 6-10.
Cheney and his friends have never known anything other than life on the self-sustaining spaceship, Plexus. A wave of energy causes Plexus to morph into a living organism, one that happens to be allergic to its human inhabitants!

Klass, David. Firestorm: The Caretaker Trilogy. Foster/Farrar, 2006. 289p. Gr. 7-12.
Teenager Jack hails from the future and is the focus of the prophecy of the Firestorm. Full of fantastic side characters and sharp, direct narration, Klass twists and tangles this coming of age adventure.

Wallenfels, Stephen. Pod. Namelos, 2010. 212p. 8-10.
A new take on the old tale of alien invasion, this story follows two teenagers who are hiding from the people-zapping spaceships in the sky. A fast-paced, yet terrifying look at our world in peril, told in effectively-used first person narration.

Wasserman, Robin. Skinned. Simon Pulse, 2008. 368p. Gr. 8–10.
After almost dying in an accident, once-popular Lia is downloaded into a new humanoid body. Not quite human, she seeks others like her and a way to stay “alive”.



Black, Holly. Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale. McElderry, 2007. 323p. Gr. 9-12.
This tale returns readers to the faery politics of Black’s earlier tales – Tithe and Valiant. Romance, deceit, and the not-quite-lies that fey tell surround an impossible quest.

Lo, Malinda. Ash. Little, 2009. 272p. Gr. 7-10.
This fractured fairy tale combines Cinderella with the mystery of the Sidhe. While not totally bereft of romance, the true focus of this story is Ash’s attempt to rebuild her life.

Marr, Melissa. Wicked Lovely. HarperTeen, 2007. 336p. Gr. 9-12.
Aislinn is a teenager in a modern day world, one of the who can see the fey. Despite attempts to hide her abilities, Aislinn is sought out by a fairy king. She attempts to help the king defeat his mother while keeping her relationship with a mortal boy.

Smith, Tara Bray. Betwixt. Little, 2007. 488p. Gr. 9-12.
Morgan, Ondine, and Nix are three modern teenage girls – they love raves and dancing – but they are also all changelings with supernatural abilities. Smith’s story follows each of the girls and her unique reaction to this news.